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Southern Baptists: Racism and the Alt-Right Are 'Antithetical to the Gospel'

On Wednesday, the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) issued a scathing declaration against "the anti-gospel of alt-right white supremacy." The resolution condemned every form of racism as incompatible with the Christian gospel and attacked the alt-right movement in no uncertain terms.

"RESOLVED, That messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13—14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ," the messengers declared.

"Racism and white supremacy attack the Gospel itself and the person of our Lord Jesus Christ," Russell Moore, president of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), declared after the resolution's passage. "Southern Baptists were right to speak clearly and definitely that 'alt-right white nationalism is not just a sociological movement but a work of the devil."

Indeed, the messengers also passed a resolution saying that they "denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as of the devil."

Dwight McKissic, the African-American pastor who submitted the original version of the resolution, expressed gratitude for the approval of the final version, but lamented that fact that it took nearly 24 hours to pass it.

McKissic lamented, "It's painful to watch people who tout biblical inerrancy and who tout the centrality of the Gospel have to debate over denouncing white supremacy." But the African-American pastor also said he was encouraged "to see so many Southern Baptists take a stand," even after a long debate.

The document rooted opposition to racism in many Bible passages. The SBC noted that "our justification before God is based on faith in Christ Jesus alone and not in our ethnicity," referencing Galatians 3:28: "There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus." This popular verse declares that the differences of nationality, socioeconomic status, and even gender cannot interfere with the gospel and Christian unity in Jesus.

The SBC also quoted Acts 10:34—35, "God doesn't show favoritism, but in every nation the person who fears Him and does what is right is acceptable to Him," and two verses in Revelation (Revelation 5:9, 7:9), which proclaim that Jesus purchased believers "from every tribe and language and people and nation" and that eternal worship will include "a multitude from every nation, tribe, people, and language."

Importantly, the denomination admitted and repented of the racism in its own history, and acknowledged "that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst."

The Southern Baptist Convention was founded in 1845, splitting from the Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. After the Civil War, many freedmen broke off to form their own separate churches.